SXSW With: Island


Words: Elena Katrina

Photo: Thibaut De Lestré

I’ve been a fan of Island for a while and I’ve had the pleasure of hanging with them before but this is our first interview – madness right? Right! Maybe it’s the fact they already “know” me or maybe it’s all the free alcohol but this turns into madness. Structured madness of course…. the kind where before any one speaks they have to say their name. It’s harder than it seems….

What is it that brought you all together? And why do you work well as a band?

Jack: Convenience

Others: No, no, no!

Toby: Many different things brought us together. For Jack and I, it was a love of maths and equations. For Rollo and James, it was a love of matching socks – blue socks in particular. For James and Jack, they both wear glasses so they both became friends. For Rollo and I, Rollo was wearing a shiny tracksuit top and I was wearing a non-shiny tracksuit top when we first met.

Rollo: So we thought “what the hell are we doing not being in a band together, look at us, we must create, we have many similarities”.

Jack: I think we hate and love each other the right amount at the right times. It’s very brotherly.

What are the best and worst things about being on tour together?

(Toby and Rollo instantly claim each other’s farts, I’m not sure if that’s best or worst)

Toby: The best thing is playing shows every night, and playing to people who appreciate your music.

James: Visiting loads of amazing places and meeting loads of different people.

What have you done so far in your career which has brought you to the point of playing SXSW this year?

Jack: We were very lucky to sign with an amazing, New York based, record label who have really enabled us to come over to the US for touring. We did a tour in September and we are doing another little tour after SXSW too. They’ve been really instrumental in sorting out getting us over here, arranging the gigs, arranging the backline, and all that sort of stuff. They’ve been absolute legends, so big thanks to them for this.

Rollo: Big up French Kiss!

Toby: I’m not sure that’s entirely true, I sorted out the backline, so I’m taking five percent of Jack’s credit there. I’m going to add to Jack’s point in that us coming to SXSW is an accumulation of all of our team being fantastic, including us. Having some money in the bank to pay for the flights to come here is a massive thing, as is having a credit card.

Jack: Yeah, having an easy line of credit we can get in to debt with helps get to SXSW.

Who are you looking forward to seeing whilst you are here?


Rollo: Yeah, we’re looking forward to seeing Deerhunter.

Toby: I’ve got a big list of bands I want to see stored on my phone. I want to see a band from New Zealand called The Beths who I’m really into at the moment, and I want to see a guy from England called Matt Maltese who is a big fan of ours. Sorry, I mean we are a big fan of his! Westerman a friend of ours who is a lovely girl. Broken Social Scene too.

What else do you have planned post-SXSW?

Rollo: Gigs! We are going to stay at a big waterfall which is nice.

All: Niagara Falls!

Jack: We have a five day tour coming up which is going to be great.

Rollo: We’ve got a cool, fun road trip with some gigs involved basically.

James: We’ve also got an EP coming out at some point. On the 27th March our EP is coming out called When We’re Still with Beatnik Creative / French Kiss / The Legend Mike Lewis. It’s four songs, of which we have released three previously. There’s one that you are yet to hear. We are doing five dates in around North America after this. We are playing Covington, Cleveland, Toronto, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. We have our winter coats ready for those dates.


Listen to Island here

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  • About Popped Music

    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

    All articles written by Elena Katrina unless otherwise stated.

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